Spanish version

CLINTON LIST

Government seeks agreement with U.S. on Waked case

It is trying to protect the jobs of the employees.

Spanish version

Temas:

A number of meetings have been held to save the jobs of Panamanians working for Waked family companies, a conglomerate which has been included on the U.S. Treasury Department's Clinton List for suspicion of money laundering and drug trafficking.

Tuesday, President Juan Carlos Varela stated several times that he wants to protect the jobs.

"It is a delicate issue, but we are acting as facilitators," he said at an event to launch a housing project.

The negotiation of an agreement with the U.S. is in the hands of a committee comprised of three ministers: Dulcidio De La Guardia (Economy and Finance), Augusto Arosemena (Commerce and Industry), and Luis Ernesto Carles (Labor).

In the afternoon, Varela made the same pledge in Colón, where the Waked family has a number of businesses in the Free Zone. He greeted a score of people who waiting for him at the entrance, and them met with Manager Surse Pierpoint.

Behind closed doors, they talked for about two hours. Once he concluded the meeting, he told journalists: "We have received a report of the operation of [the family Waked] businesses in free zone. We now have a clear profile of its operations, especially on the issue of jobs."

Of 68 enterprises connected to the Waked family, 15 are in Colón. Varela said that almost 400 people are employed by the family in Colón.

Varela said the situation should not cause alarm. 

"I don't think that people should panic. There is a criminal investigation against a family which is accused of specific issues. They have to defend themselves. I wanted to come to Colón to send a message of tranquillity to the population," he said.

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